At the risk of going on a rant that is better served in the political arena, I feel I must address the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico – a disaster now more than a month old – that originated with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. While there are a multitude of directions I could take on this, it’s the seeming non-existence of good ol’ American ingenuity that bothers me the most.
I read somewhere that neither BP nor the government were prepared for an oil spill of this magnitude. That statement really stopped me in my tracks. And for whatever reasons, I thought about the Apollo 13 mission (I’m betting you either lived through that, saw the movie, or both).
Remember the attitude of Gene Kranz and the others who worked at mission control? Remember those famous words?
“Failure is not an option. ”
I’m betting that Kranz and his team never spent a lot of time prior to the mission preparing for a damaged heat shield, loss of oxygen, fitting square pegs in round holes, returning to earth underweight (no moon rocks, remember?) and multitude of other obstacles they were forced to overcome while working with a space crew who was, well, in a way, lost in space.
When presented with a potentially fatal problem, they worked around the clock in order to find a solution. That sense of ingenuity – that-never-give-up attitude – was arguably the most important thing that all people involved brought to the table 40 years ago, and one of the main elements absent from the current crisis. There was no whining or blaming or “it’s not my fault” or “we’re gonna keep our boot on their throat” nonsense. Just team work geared at one thing – returning three men to earth… alive.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of who we are as a nation. We’re fostering dependence and condemning American exceptionalism. Dare I say that under these current practices, the crew of Apollo 13 would not have returned alive.
It’s time for Americans to realign. Time to remember that we were once known as the last, best hope on earth. Once that’s lost, there’s nowhere else to turn. It’s time to remember who we are.
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